Cool your jets, tweeps. Twitter’s latest experiment is NBD. It’s par for the course -- not the “dumb crap” so many users are in a huff about.
What is this ghastly scourge, this pesky nuisance aggravating every other user and their brother on Twitter right now? Favorites masquerading as retweets. Yes, tweets that people favorite are now rearing their ugly, harmless heads in timelines. Some Twitter users are also glimpsing popular tweets from accounts other users follow, reports Mashable. The horror of it all.
Ummmm why does twitter think I want to see people's favorites on my timeline??? They need to stop adding this dumb crap to the app— tyboo ? (@blazeoflight) August 18, 2014
The tweak is “downright blasphemous to experienced users,” according to The Verge, because, up until now, users only saw tweets and retweets posted by accounts they follow in timelines. Favorites were quasi-private. Now they’re out of the closet for all to judge. So violating, right?
dear twitter, idgaf what other people favorite so stop putting them on my timeline.— Mario. (@xmaario) August 18, 2014
If you don't like it, ditch Twitter or mute users who favorite lame things. Then, wake up and smell reality. Like Facebook, OkCupid and basically every other website, especially the social kind, Twitter experiments with its content special sauce all the time. Last year the company admitted that "it’s rare for a day to go by" when it doesn’t toy with features (and the 271 million people who use them). Some mods are out in the open and others are “under-the-hood,” as Twitter says. The San Francisco-based social media mammoth can change its service like the wind, without warning you first. Check the Terms of Service you agreed to.
I think it's lame that tweets ppl favorite show up on TLs now idc what everyone favorites?— Kiersten Hook (@KierstenNoel) August 17, 2014
Sure, you can have your knickers in a twist about Twitter’s latest tweak. Personally, I don’t get what all the fuss is about. None of this should come as a surprise. But you can’t say Twitter didn’t warn you.
To no avail, we reached out to Twitter to find out why it steamrolled users with the earth-shattering change and how it’s coping with the backlash.
Favorites, which are spawned when users click the small star icon next to a tweet, are generally used for three specific purposes: 1) to let a user know you noticed and/or like their tweet, 2) to thank a user for tweeting something they @ mentioned you in and 3) to save a tweet for later. I do the last in the bunch often to bookmark tweets mentioning articles I plan to read later or topics I’d like to eventually write about.
A sort of pat on the back, the feature is similar to Facebook’s “like” option. In case you didn’t know, your Twitter followers were already privy to every tweet you’ve ever favorited via the Favorites header on your profile page. You can snoop all of their faves this way, too.
On Facebook, when you like a status, link, photo or video, it’s not private. Your friends will know that you liked that adorkable mohawked kitten pic on Punks With Cats - Selfies Facebook page. The only way for them not to see a like of yours is to unlike it. Now that your favorites can surface in others’ timelines, think of your Twitter favorites in the same way. If you don’t want people to know you favorited something, don’t favorite it in the first place.
Or, if you’ve already favorited a tweet you wish you hadn’t (now that you know way more people will see it), don’t freak out. It’s not forever. To undo it, hover over the tweet you favorited and click on the word "Favorited" to undo your shame fav.
Twitter filling my feed with stuff I didn't ask for - stuff other people follow and fav. pic.twitter.com/IVOViGF1QW— Peter Kafka (@pkafka) August 17, 2014
Remember, what you tweet, favorite or retweet on Twitter belongs to Twitter and it can do with it whatever it wishes. Now and forever.
Per Twitter, “By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us [Twitter] a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).”
Translation: When you sign up for Twitter, you sign away the rights to and privacy of whatever you post, retweet or favorite on the service. You “authorize [Twitter] to make your Tweets available to the rest of the world and to let others do the same.”
This level of creepy should no longer come as a shock. It’s a given.